Joomla vs. WordPress: What’s the Difference?

joomla vs wordpress

If you are considering setting up a website, you may be wondering about Joomla vs. WordPress. Both are free Content Management Systems – CMS for short – that can power your website. They make managing your website content easier.

Both have been around for a while, and have active members and developers who are supporting these Content Management Systems.

Both Joomla and WordPress can be used for hobby websites as well as commercial platforms.

Which is better?

Joomla vs. WordPress: An Overview

In a nutshell, if you have a small business or want to run a blog without a lot of fuss or muss, then WordPress is the best solution, hands down.

WordPress is easy to use, and most web hosts will now offer a one-click install for WordPress.

On the other hand, Joomla might be better for larger commercial websites and more complicated endeavors. It also has this feeling of being more “professional” in how it handles things in the backend.

Let’s take a look at both platforms.

WordPress: For More Than Just Blogging

wordpress website

Image screenshot from WordPress website

When WordPress first came out in 2003, it was a platform designed to support blogs. The entire administrative interface was blog-focused. The default front page was a list of blog posts. Creating menus wasn’t entirely intuitive.

If you wanted to do more on WordPress than just blogging, you could, but it wasn’t that easy out of the box.

Fast forward to today, and WordPress is the most widely used Content Management System on the Internet. It is for more than just blogs. It is a fast and easy way to set up small business websites, online magazines, digital stores, and even virtual schools.

In short, WordPress can do just about anything you’d need a website to do. That said, it still has a bias towards blogs, which can make using it for something more complicated a little frustrating at times.

You can extend the functionality of WordPress using “plug-ins,” which can be installed by doing a search of the WordPress plug-in directory embedded within the backend.

Joomla: A More Ambitious Project

joomla website

Image screenshot from Joomla website

Right from the get-go, Joomla was more positioned to be an enterprise website solution. It had a lot more bells and whistles than WordPress, and its back-end interface was filled with a lot of nifty icons and organizational levels that just screamed “professional.”

The biggest problem with Joomla, however, is and has been the learning curve in dealing with this backend.

Especially when Joomla was first launched, a strong line in the sand was put between the administrative interface and the public-facing website.

With the competing CMS Drupal (and to some smaller extent, WordPress), you could easily edit pages and access the administrative interface while reading the website itself. Not so with Joomla. With Joomla, once you were in the backend, you were in a whole different world.

This meant you could not easily edit a page in Joomla if you were browsing the website and found a mistake in the middle of the page. You would have to login to the backend and search around for that page and edit it separately.

Joomla has plug-ins a.k.a. “extensions” that can give you inline editing access, so it’s not a deal breaker per se. But this should give you some idea of the different mindset that went into creating Joomla.

On the positive, Joomla, while perhaps not having as many extensions as WordPress has plug-ins, tends to have more professionally developed add-ons.

WordPress and Joomla Plusses and Minuses

Woman using computer

Image by rawpixel.net via Freepik

WordPress’s biggest weakness is its security problems. This is not because the WordPress developers aren’t security-conscious. Rather, WordPress is so ubiquitous that it has become a major target for hackers and spammers.

If you do not keep your WordPress installation and plug-ins up-to-date, then you can expect to get hacked at some point. All of a sudden, you will login to WordPress and see some sort of ad in a foreign language.

Joomla does not have this problem. It is generally secure. Additionally, because it separates out administrative roles from front-end user roles, Joomla provides better account control than WordPress.

On the other hand, WordPress is simply a lot easier to use out of the box. It is the Content Management System for people who don’t want to feel like they are dealing with a Content Management System.

Joomla vs. WordPress

group of graphic designers discussing laptop at their desk

Image by peoplecreations via Freepik

Generally speaking, if you want to build a small website or blog, and you don’t want a lot of fuss, go with WordPress. If you want to build something a bit more complex and want a more secure solution, you might try Joomla. For a third option, give Drupal a try. It is probably the best option for technical-minded developers.

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